Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Did It

This photo belongs to berroco.

DID IT! Actually, I did three Things, the second one is the cause of my jubilation, and led to the first one. The last one is just the result. Confused?

The Second Thing is... I cast on my first ever sweater! (pictured above) I have been avoiding it, out of sheer terror, but I finally went for it. I saw the pattern and immediately fell in love, I had to have it. Right now. However, in order to have it, and had to knit it, and in order to do that I had to first wind my yarn. Now I don't have a spinner thingy to do it for me, so the First Thing I did was to wind 880 yards of laceweight yarn by hand. Yes, I did. It took me over an hour, an leads me to the Third Thing I did, the result, which is to cement my place forever in the crazy person hall of fame.

For those of you still catching up:
I am knitting a perfectly normal, worsted (heavy weight) if asymmetrical sweater pattern in a lace weight (like thread) yarn. May I just add, I have no idea how to convert a pattern into a pattern for different weight yarn. Also, I don't know if I will actually have enough yarn. To make matters worse, all of the reviews that I read about the sweater said that the pattern comes out way to small even when knitted perfectly to gauge. See, crazy. But right up my alley.

So any suggestions, comments, or words of encouragement would be welcomed. For those of you in the know, the pattern calls for 1180 -1400 yards of 10 ply, I have 1740 yards of 2 ply and I will try to knit in a large size. Am I anywhere near close? Also, I am a little worried about drape. It is 100% merino, but is so light. Ok, here goes.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Today, and today, and today! I am going share some of my favorites with you. Keep in mind that I got to have all of these things in just one day. If every day could be like today... well, I guess that I might start to feel like a 50's housewife, but for a day it was really, really good.

Favorite #1 The most fabulous roasted tomato sauce ever
You need a colander full of Roma tomatoes, and some olive oil. That is it. Really. Did I mention that my favorites are all super easy, 'cause otherwise they wouldn't be favorites.

Then, you cut the tops off of the tomatoes, cut them in half, and squeeze the juice out of the bottom half. You don't have to do this last step, but it does make thicker sauce, and it is also really satisfying. Toss them onto a baking sheet as you go.

Drizzle them all over with olive oil, sprinkle with salt if you like, and roast in the oven on 250 degrees for several hours. You know they are done because the edges with start to turn all dark and candied. Your house will smell amazing. One of the very best things in the world is to add some garlic to the roasting for about 45 minutes, and then put the whole thing into the blender when it comes out. But I think that this batch is going in the freezer whole for a sundried tomato type deal. The most important part (in my book) is to freeze meal sized portions into small freezer bags. Or use this tip to freeze in a large bag. YuM!

Favorite # 2 Zucchini Pancakes or Nostalgia in a Pan

Grate a couple of zucchini, and mix in a egg or two depending on how many you are feeding. Stir some flour into the mix until it sticks together nicely, and fry in olive oil. Yes, you have to fry them. Just do it, and olive oil is good for you anyways. Let them get all golden brown on both sides. That is it. If you have no zucchini, stand out on the street this time of year, and chances are someone will ask you if you want any.

This next one is not a favorite, because apples are good, but they are not tomatoes. It was however, really easy and good, and don't forget, this is all in one day! If you really need to know, and you can't figure it out from the pictures, you can ask.

That is all for now, because believe it or not, I also started a new knitting project, and it is calling my name. Don't mind me, I am just wallowing in domesticity over here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

In the Morning

Pears in the morning sun.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Balance and a Ceramic Bowl

Bear with me while I search for some balance here.

We walked out in the late summer dry this evening to find the ice cream. I even ran back for my camera, fully intending to document the ice cream at least. But the ice cream was gone before it had a chance to get that melty and delicious look, and the background changed from dry grass, to pavement, to sawdust, and I was uninspired to click at all. It didn't have that lazy summer feeling even though there was a rather good concert going on in the park. To me it seemed that we were rather desperately searching for some sort of lingering summeryness that was nowhere to be found. My favorite bits occurred when I walked past those special houses whose owners had managed to find just the right balance. Their grass was green, but more importantly, they had vegetables and flowers flourishing in pots and planters. Their yards exuded cool and restfulness, and I could feel the other intense green of envy. They had managed to find the time to water, and fertilize, and make for themselves an oasis in their little plots of town.
So, feeling disgruntled and a little melancholy, helped along by Maddie's convenient disobedience, I trudged along home, trying to keep a little balance. I have quite a good life, after all. Once there, I did what any self respecting grumpy person would do, I set to work taking care of the things that I could do. I deadheaded the poor wilted hydrangeas. They smelled like childhood bridal bouquets, and I even took the time to notice their lovely faded colors.

I watered my stressed out maple tree, and I picked a bowl of green pears. I pulled them down in the twilight, and ducked as a dozen others fell off the tree and clunked to the grass around me. I filled up a red ceramic bowl and put it right in the middle of our kitchen table to look pretty in the morning sunlight, and ripen to sugary sweetness.
Now, I will wash the cobwebs off of my face, and read some friendly posts, and wait for fall.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Still Life with a Tomato

I have to confess, I do not actually like the end of August. I would like to. I would love to savor the last lazy days of summer with bar-b-ques, and picnics, late evening walks, and the occasional trip to the beach. But the reality is that it is hot, and dry, and we are just too damn busy to do any of those things. The reality is that all we are really doing is waiting for the start of school, and the beginning of fall, which is all of things that late summer tries to be and fails.
However, the one thing that late summer does have, that no other season can lay claim to, which makes up for many other shortcomings, is vegetables. Late summer has homegrown, fresh from the garden vegetables, and more specifically, tomatoes, which are my all time, favorite food, barring nothing.

I put them in everything, and they make everything taste wonderful.

Soon, when the warm season is just ending, and the cool season is just beginning, I will will go out to the U-pick farm and pick boxes of tomatoes. I will bring them home and spend the whole day in the kitchen with jars, and hot water, and I will have jars and jars of homegrown tomatoes ready for spaghetti and soup in the dead of winter. Then I will roast sauce tomatoes in olive oil and garlic for hours in the oven until they are sticky and sweet, and we will be ready for fall.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Treasure Hunting and School Shopping

Today was all set aside for massive school shopping, but we caught wind of a little estate sale going on and heard that there might be knitting "stuff" there. So we took a detour. There was, as expected, a large amount of Red Heart acrylic, many buttons, and lots of polyester, but tucked away in a corner I found the knitting needles! I have been waiting for just such a score, and searched through the flotsam for a set of every size. I also found a vintage silk handkerchief and this perfect little girl's organza dress from the 50's (I think.) I won't even tell you what I paid for the whole lot. You will be too jealous. I will just show you some close ups and shut up about it.

Here is a detail of the bodice of the dress. I know, perfect. I am almost of a mind to hang it in a window, but Maddie says that she will wear it. I am all about starting her early on vintage. I say, pair it with some faded denim...

I did not find this little top at the sale, I found it at our favorite treasure hunting stop Value Village, but it is such a to die for reproduction of the cotton/poly house dresses that everyone's grandma wears (you know what I am talking about, right?), that had to include it. It is a perfect replica, except for the gorgeous and flattering silky fabric, and the fact that it was made by Victorias' Secret.

We did get around to school shopping, for several hours in fact. I am please to announce that my daughter in finally fun to shop with, though it works best if the trip is entirely centered around her.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I have the Thursday evening Tireds. The weekend looms ahead, joyous and busy, but for now all I can think is... tired. No energy. I wish that I had a hammock.

I desperately wish to escape into another world, far from my own thoughts. I may have to lie on my bed, and sink into Twilight, for the second time in 3 weeks.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cast On

I have decided that knitting from a pattern is an act of faith. At least it is an act of faith for me, as I have so little knitting experience that I cannot picture what any given step will turn out like. This also means that I have no idea if I did it right until it is done! I just started at the beginning of the pattern, and when I got to the end... I stopped! I didn't even try to figure out if I was going to be able to figure out the next step, I just jumped in. Kind of an adventure, I must say.

And it is done. I just sewed the button on my very first piece, knitted fully from a pattern, and not improvised from a stitch book. I quite like it, and plan to make more.

The pattern is called Calorimetry, and it is free on Ravelry.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sand and Waves

This last week, my sweet husband and I escaped to the coast for two days. The Oregon coast is one of the "most peacefulest" spots on the planet according to me, and my memories of the week are a happy haze of foggy beaches, delicious food, red wine, the tangy smell of salt in the air, the musty smell of camping gear, a good book, campfire, and the sound of rain on the tent. Here is a little slideshow of beachiness, maybe we can pretend we are there now.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

It is my very own Birthday today! I am 31, which makes me officially in my 30's. I know that some folks dislike birthdays, and some even go so far as to pretend that their own birthday does not exist. I am not one of those people. I love birthdays, especially my own. I love that happy, surprised feeling when someone wishes you a happy birthday, and you have forgotten, so you get a little tingle and realize, "Why yes, it is my birthday!" I love the cards and surprises that show up in the mail, and the messages that come through the phone, and the ones that show up at your door unexpectedly.

Today I am featuring some surprises that showed up at my door this morning. I think that it is only appropriate, as these particular surprises came from my Mama and Daddy. It is only right. Plus, they are particularly pretty, and (as my mother pointed out) completely impractical.

Folks, meet Birthday Necklace. Birthday Necklace, folks. She is quite gorgeous, and I think that we are going to get along just fine. We are not sure how old she is. Despite her Deco appearance she does not appear old enough to be from the twenties. We are thinking 60's, but really, we are too polite to ask.

Do you want to see another fabulous birthday surprise? Yeah, that's what I thought.

It doesn't actually get any more glamorous that these lovely ladies. Here they are a little closer.

Aren't they gorgeous? This one has shimmering gold detail.

Here you can see the great accessories at the bottom. I tried to get better pictures of the lingerie, but they didn't come out. That little square in the middle is a list of prices. the entire wardrobe comes out to $897.

There is some water damage that cased the paints to run a bit, but I am not complaining. Nope, not at all. I love it, every little bit.

Aren't birthdays wonderful.

Monday, August 10, 2009

From my Point of View

You know those days when you are stuck at work, or at home, and you really just want to leave? You know what I am talking about, when you've got the this-really-sucks-I-am-about-to-go-out-of-my-mind-blues, and you are just stickity stuck and there is nothing you can do, and all you want is to play hooky and meet a friend and sit in the park, or maybe go shopping.

This was not one of those days. This was one of those days when one friend says, "This sucks." And the other friend says, "Yeah, let's get out of here." And the first friend says, "Ok! I'll pop the kids in the car and drive for 2 hours, and we will have a fabulous time instead." And you do.

And the view is wonderful.

And so is the park.

And you are so glad that you did not do the logical, boring, practical, conscientious thing, which was to stay right where you were and suffer. You are so glad that you did the spontaneous, impractical thing instead.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Happy Anniversary

It is my one year anniversary today. Mine and my sweet husband's, and guess what we did? Well, first of all I cleaned the house from top to bottom. I even washed the curtains in our room. I just love a before and after picture, don't you?

Then I did some design work. Not the fun kind. I was trying to figure out how to make a maltese cross appear to tear out of a t-shirt shirt with flames behind it. Their idea, not mine. In my experience, fire fighters are a whole other breed of folks.

There was an exciting moment when I soaked the scarf that I finished last night, and laid it out to dry. Please note that I finished it while watching John Adams. This means that my fingers knew the pattern so well that I could actually do BOTH at the same time without having to frog every few rows. It is funny how you work on a project for so long that the final binding off is a bit of an anticlimax.

Where was the aforementioned sweet husband when all of this productivity was going on? At work, of course, because that is what you do when it is a work day, and you are happy to have a job. Don't worry, we will get away to the coast a little later this week. Until then I will celebrate with a little wedding photo. Be forewarned, it's gushy. Hey, I gotta do something romantic today.

Friday, August 7, 2009

I love the weekend. I especially love Fridays, the start of my three day weekend. This one started gorgeous and overcast, and I got to pull on jeans, and socks, and regular old shoes. Who would ever guess that you could get sick of sandals? Also, my absolute favorite cashmere cardigan became necessary which is definitely a plus.

Of course, then errands and cleaning the house demolished my free time, and boring purchases like printer ink took out my paycheck. But I did get to make soup for dinner. Soup is quite possibly my favorite food group, not to be confused with my favorite food (homegrown tomatoes, no contest) and a good summer veggie is high on the list.

And I did get the printer ink because I need to print out the quilt pattern that I downloaded from Posie gets Cozy. This is only fitting because it is all her fault that I suddenly have an unprecedented and urgent need to make my first ever quilt. Look at this, can you blame me?
Unfortunately, the only item required to make a quilt that is actually in my possession, is a sewing machine. Important, I know, but still... actually, as of today, that is not entirely true. Today I acquired a quilt pattern, and a rotary cutter and mat. One step closer. I will keep you posted. Don't be impatient with me. I am quite low on things like time.